Facilitating Connections - 311 Partnership Team

Amber Nielsen

311 Representatives standing and smiling in red shirts.

"We are the communication bridge between our staff and our partners, and 311 is the communication bridge between the residents of Charlotte and our partners." The Partner Liaison Team builds relationships across the city so that 311 can help more residents.

311 gathers information that informs decisions across the city. By knowing what types of questions residents have, government and non-government organizations can make better and more informed decisions. They can also learn what information is difficult to access or what processes need streamlined. The 311 partnership team facilitates these relationships.

While 311 has been building relationships across Charlotte-Mecklenburg since its inception in 2005, this team continues to manage, build upon and expand new and existing relationships. The team members all shared some newer partnerships that they are particularly excited about.

Linette McCallum, the Partner Liaison Manager, shared that she could never choose a favorite partnership because of the value of each. However, she excitedly shared a newer partnership with Commonwealth Charlotte and the Financial Navigator program. This partnership has given Charlotte residents access to financial help and information during the pandemic. They offer assistance and financial education to those who need it. We inform them of the types of questions that people have about financial hardship so that they can develop education programs around that information.

She also proudly talked about Digital Charlotte, a partnership with Queens University. As the world moved online, this program connected individuals with digital resources through the Digital Navigators program.

Keshia Brinkley, a Partner Liaison Analyst, beamed, "We have such wonderful relationships with all of our partners. We so appreciate all of them." She noted that the partnership with the Board of Elections is particularly important because of how essential it is to vote. This partnership allows 311 to direct people to their nearest polling location, answer questions about early voting, and generally help people to vote correctly. This also takes the burden off the Board of Elections having to field all the questions from the public.

Suriel Cardoza, a Partner Liaison Analyst, also expressed a sincere appreciation for all the relationships they have built over the years. "Each partnership is special in its own way." He expressed special appreciation for the Office of Equity, Mobility, and Immigrant Integration. "As a Hispanic man, I have the opportunity to give insight into the Hispanic community through my relationship with the Office of Equity, Mobility, and Immigrant Integration. I love being able to serve my community that way." He also appreciated that he was able to help give services in Spanish to open the door of access to Hispanic families in the area. Mr. Cardoza also helped facilitate an "Introduction to 311" training that was geared toward the Hispanic community and conducted entirely in Spanish.

This partnership team works tirelessly to connect 311 callers to more services and more information in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area. All three team members raved about the dedication that they see from the customer service representatives. Their drive to serve callers as best as they can leads them to seek more information and training constantly. The partnership team is incredibly proud of the work of 311 and the impact they have on the community.